The Suns officially finalized their signing of Jermaine O'Neal today, and the veteran big man appears excited about the opportunity to spend the season in Phoenix. According to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, O'Neal chose the Suns because he thought he could "go there and be happy playing basketball again." O'Neal added that his health has improved significantly and that he aims to be an impact player this season (Twitter links).
Coro also published a column last night in which he hears from GM Lance Blanks about the team's summer makeover, so let's check out the highlights from that piece:
- With the Suns seeking a commitment to the franchise from players they target, all of the club's new players had Phoenix as their first choice, says Blanks.
- Blanks on his expectations for the coming season: "We're still in an extended honeymoon. I'm cautiously optimistic about the season. I don't think this is a team you want do much predicting with in terms of numbers. What I can see in the future for this team this year is a team that is fun to watch and plays hard every night. It is a group of guys who will play together because of the type of guys they are."
- Blanks praised Luis Scola's "griminess and crustiness" and said the former Rocket will provide a good example for younger players.
- The Suns will have about $7MM in cap space for an in-season move, and could have about $15MM in space next summer. Blanks stressed the importance of maintaining that financial flexibility, since the team's next star could come via the draft, a trade, or free agency.